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While far from the only good film on boxing, Champion is perhaps the best drama ever based on the fight game. It is remarkable for a number of things: the unrelenting, grinding logic that leads to the hero's tragic fate; the beautiful cinematography and editing that make it a masterpiece of light and shadow; near-perfect performances by everyone, from Kirk Douglas as Midge Kelly, down to the actor who plays a sleazy small-time ring manager; and the boost it gave to the budding careers of Douglas and others. The basic story has been told many times, but never so powerfully: a poor,… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The Set-Up, made the same year, is infinitely superior."
‑ Tom Milne, Time Out
"One of the best fight films ever, also one of Kirk's best"
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
"Brilliant, searing, heartbreaking."
‑ Nell Minow, Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
"Kirk Douglas does a good, aggressive job, with a slight inclination to over-eagerness at times, which might amuse an old fight fan."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"Robson's direction is all action, wasting no time in telling this compelling story, and Carl Foreman's script is sharply observant of the boxing milieu."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"The contrasting black and white cinematography perfectly fits the dark mood. The fight sequences are excitingly and realistically staged."
‑ George Perry,
"In his first Oscar nomination in Mark Robson's compelling melodrama, Kirk Douglas gives a ferociously realistic performance as a boxer determined to succeed at all costs."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Douglas is so perfect in the role that the movie is never less than gripping."
‑ , Film4
More reviews for Champion on Rotten Tomatoes